The Most Horrible Thing About Ethics
Religion and morals set a standard of ethics that should remain static over time. We base our actions and beliefs on the teachings of an all-loving God who knows what is best for us. Yet, somehow, there are many in our society who are taking this power away from Him and who think they know better what should and should not happen when it comes to life and death decisions—or when it comes to the creation of a baby. Today’s commentary addresses the ethical crisis we find ourselves in. Read on for Judie Brown’s insights.
Years ago my children used to enjoy hearing Winnie the Pooh’s sidekick, Tigger, sing:
As many of us know, there should never be more than one standard of ethics. Yet currently we have a mishmash of ethical frameworks—commonly referred to as bioethics—regulating everything from human embryonic stem cell research to abortion and dying. There is nothing wonderful about this scenario.
While the mainstream media would deny that there is ethical duplicity afoot, an honest mind cannot ignore the documented facts about how America is slowly depersonalizing the individual. The defense of this creeping disregard for the human person comes under the guise of personal faith. What this means in practice is that there are often no right or wrong answers. It’s up to the individual to determine what he/she feels is right or wrong.
Perhaps such a position is convenient, but is it logical? Whatever happened to objective truth? It is simply easier in today’s culture to deny the existence of natural law ethics in order to justify the heinous acts of others.
Today the gravely ill are invited to sign forms such as the Physician’s Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST). This is a huge mistake! Research shows that what is being promoted to the patient as a means of determining one’s own fate is, in fact, a method for making certain that death is imposed at a time set by the caregiver, not the patient. Professor E. Christian Brugger has called POLST a “living will on steroids,” and has warned that many who sign it have no idea how powerful the document can be. Not only that, but he suggests that POLST is “fiscally driven” as well.
If money is becoming more important than patient care, whose ethics are these?
In the Journal of Medical Ethics, Catherine Constable argues that those patients who are diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state should not be given artificial nutrition and hydration because she denies that a PVS patient has an “interest” in living. She concludes, “Life cannot benefit them.”
Would she be willing to say that to people who have made miraculous recoveries from this diagnosis, like Steven Thorpe? Or is he just another disinterested dead person?
Whose ethics are these?
In the field of genetics there is an evolving interest in identifying certain genes that cause disabilities in born people so that such people can be “put out of their misery” prior to birth. As Kurt Kondrich, father of precious nine-year-old Down syndrome child Chloe, tells his readers,
“Converging and emerging technology” professions that today seek to produce superior classes of “people” for the “future,” and subjugate or eliminate those they consider inferior, create their own belief system. Global bioethics organizations based on transhumanism, futurism, technoprogressivism, postnaturalism, etc., find traditional ethics too restrictive when addressing subjects such as “designer babies,” surrogate mothers, “human enhancement,” human genetic engineering, robotics (including part humans/part machines), artificial intelligences, etc. These people are hard at work creating yet another brand of “ethics” to justify such activities.
My final example of this mishmash comes from Slate, which published an article dealing selective reduction—a practice that involves prenatal abortion of some, but not all, babies. The writer explained, “Ethics, by definition, change with circumstance.” In her view, the decision to choose how many babies should be allowed to live is up to the expectant mother and no one else.
Whose ethics is she writing about?
These ethics, or lack thereof, are of the fungible sort that defy logic and common sense.
Professor Dianne Irving addressed this sad situation by exposing the differences between the muddled bioethics I have noted above versus “an ethics which is objectively grounded on our very human natures, on what we know empirically is either harmful or good for us as human beings.”
The differences are stark.
I believe Tigger had the right idea—that only one is the real deal. He never changed his stripes! In the same way, we must never change our stripes or allow society to change them for us. We must demand fidelity to true ethics that never change. Nothing else will suffice.